My friend Mark and I lived in a basement apartment when we first moved to Washington DC. The family who owned the house had a rather humongous tabby named Athena who would waddle around in the backyard to sit in the sun or knock at our basement window to come for a visit. This cat was a chunk!
One day, as I was sitting on the toilet, a set of eyes peered at me from under the bathroom door. Then it had the nerve to squeeze itself under the door and stood on its hind legs just wiggling its little mouse whiskers and pondering what I was doing sitting there. I stood up and he ran under the door and back to where he’d been staying, our kitchen toaster. We named him Mitch the Kitchen Mouse.
Unfortunately, Mitch wasn’t by himself. I really didn’t want to set mousetraps. He and his friends really were cute. So Mark and I decided we’d get rid of them the “natural way” and one day when Athena knocked on our window to come for a visit, we catnapped her! We figured the presence of a cat would convince Mitch and his friends that they should leave.
Athena loved staying in our apartment – it was cool and we gave her cold cuts since we didn’t have any cat food. But Athena was so overweight that when Mitch came out of his toaster and walked right up to her, sticking his little mouse fingers in his ears his tongue out at her, daring her to chase him., she just sat there looking at him. She couldn’t pull herself up to go after him.
Athena is only one of many cats that suffered from obesity. Cats don’t have a job anymore. Very few kitties are keeping barns clear of mice and vermin. Most of our domesticated cats are living the high life snuggled on a cushion. It’s not like you can put your kitty on a treadmill and most people don’t strap on a harness and take Fluffy on a walk!
So how can we keep our kitties in shape? First look at the food you are feeding your feline. Remember, domesticated cats are really carnivores and many commercial cat foods have a lower percentage of protein and lots of grains that are high in carbohydrates. The food is really marketed to the kitty parents with fun colors and fish-shaped kibble and singing cats on the commercials. Cats are unable to digest carbohydrates because they don’t have the enzyme amylase in their saliva that digests carbohydrates. Nature didn’t intend for them to consume large amounts of carbohydrates. Due to this issue, a cat’s body converts carbohydrates into fat, and it gets stored in their system.
Second, as hunters and predators, cats were not intended to have a “free style” diet. In other words, if you put down a bowl of kibble for your cat to nibble on throughout the day, Fluffy may be consuming double or triple the amount of calories they should. Stick with set feeding times and a high protein diet.
Last, try to get your furry friend active! There are many cat toys you can purchase but before you go out and spend money, try a good old-fashioned yarn ball! Ribbons on a stick also seem to be a favorite. Laser pointers are a popular cat toy too but remember, don’t shine it directly into Fluffy’s eyes as it can burn your kitty’s corneas. The bottom line is that playing with your cat will not only keep her healthy but I guarantee it will put a smile on your face too!